Recommended Reading for Homeschoolers

Here is my list of recommended reading for college preparation, covering roughly what would be covered in the average high school curriculum. I haven’t read all of these: I’m no longer in college prep, for one thing, so I can read what I like.  Knowing that, I also based this list on those I have gotten from my friends who are librarians, and on lists I tracked down online, including American Library Association lists and online High School lists, so that friends who are being homeschooled can be sure they will be able to show they are meeting the same general requirements

I also made an effort to ensure this list is as multi-cultural as I could while still making sure it would meet college education standards. I am deeply unhappy that college education standards, as evidenced by all those online lists, is still that of white men who died over a century ago and fear for the best and brightest minds educated on a standard that does not address the fact that we live in a global culture that does not recognize the primacy of the values of dead, white, European men.

It’s not necessary for someone to read everything on this list: I provided a big selection so a person can pick and choose. I did * those books/authors that appeared on a lot of lists, meaning a reader should read that book or one book by that author. I was asked not to include fantasy on this list because most of my friends read fantasy anyway. I did include the many science fiction titles I found on the required reading lists online (1984, Brave New World, Fahrenheit 451, The Handmaid’s Tale).

Contemporary | Fiction | Non-Fiction | Classics | Poetry | “Required” | Plays

Contemporary Teen

I tried to include as few depressing problem novels as I could, but sadly, most of the contemporary teen books on the lists are just that. Sorry.



Classics I Liked


Most you’ll just find under “Collected Poems of…” books.

  • Maya Angelou*
  • W. H. Auden
  • Sandra Cisneros*
  • Dante Alighieri The Divine Comedy (1321).
  • Emily Dickinson
  • Allen Ginsberg – “Howl” (1955).
  • Karen HesseWitness (2001).
  • John MiltonParadise Lost (1667).
  • Pablo Neruda*
  • Sylvia Plath*
  • Sappho
  • Anne Sexton
  • Wallace Stevens
  • Dylan Thomas*
  • Walt WhitmanLeaves of Grass (1855).
  • Phillis Wheatley
  • Oscar Wilde – “The Ballad of Reading Gaol” (1898).

“Required” Reading

There are some writers people say you have to read to be educated in our society. A lot of them write plays. I hate these writers. I would be letting you down if I did not mention them, but if you hate them, I don’t want you blaming me. I also do not want you to blame me if people say you’re ignorant. So here they are.